The Worst Used Nissan Frontier Years to Never Buy

Sure, the Nissan Frontier is an excellent truck. It’s economical and gets the job done. You can even get a used Nissan Frontier for a great price. However, make sure you get the right used model. Some Nissan Frontier model years have expensive issues and need to be avoided. 

The worst used Nissan Frontier models 

According to MotorJunkie, the 2005 to 2008 Nissan Frontier models need to be avoided. They claim that these model years had significant transmission problems.

2020 Nissan Frontier parked in grass
2020 Nissan Frontier | Nissan

To make matters worse, the radiators started cracking before 10,000 miles too. The transmission issues led to engine problems and caused the gearbox to break down.

RELATED READ: 3 Reasons to Avoid the 2020 Nissan Frontier

However, the 2005 to 2008 Nissan Frontiers are pretty ancient trucks! Let’s skip ahead to find models from more recent years to avoid. With the help of CarComplaints, we can see which Nissan Frontier years have the most issues. 

2020 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X
2020 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X | Nissan

This is because CarComplaints allows drivers to report actual problems they’ve had with their own trucks. Problems and Nissan Frontier complaints are pulled for the NHTSA, too, meaning some of these issues are potentially dangerous. 

The 2016 Nissan Frontier issues 

Drivers reported a few different issues for the 2016 Nissan Frontier. The most common issue seemed to involve engine problems. One driver couldn’t get their 2016 Frontier to accelerate up to driving speeds. 

At the dealership, they received an update to reset the traction control and cruise control systems, but this failed to fix it. The driver actually experienced the same problem on their way home and had to cut the engine and restart their truck to move forward. 

Some drivers faced hesitation when attempting to accelerate, making it dangerous to pull out into traffic or merge onto the highway. Also, drivers had trouble recreating this issue when taking their trucks in for maintenance. However, one driver did have his acceleration issue fixed with an update to the electronic control system. 

The 2016 Nissan Frontier also had issues with Takata airbags. One driver was involved in three accidents, but their airbags only deployed once. They mentioned hitting the steering wheel very hard in one of the wrecks. 

A Nissan Frontier climbing over a dirt hill.
Nissan Frontier | Mark Elias/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Other drivers couldn’t get their airbag warning light to stop flashing, even after their trucks were repaired. They left two times after being told that the issue was fixed, but it would return. Also, for some reason, the light would briefly turn off if someone sat in the passenger seat. 

The 2012 Nissan Frontier problems 

The most common problem for the 2012 Nissan Frontier involves body and paint issues. Many drivers reported that the paint was coming off of the primer, especially near the fender on the passenger side. 

Some drivers noticed the paint chipping from their trucks about four years after use, and others discovered paint chipping from the hood and other areas right after purchasing their Nissan Frontier

The 2012 Nissan Frontier is also known for engine trouble. Some drivers experienced random acceleration while in parking lots and uncontrolled acceleration that wouldn’t stop until they turned their truck off. Other drivers had the engine randomly stall and dealt with extreme vibrations while their trucks were idling.